Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!



We are in countdown mode... only 11 days until our due date. This time next year we will have an almost-one-year old that we can take trick-or-treating. This will mean some big changes for us – normally we either go out to eat OR turn off all of our lights and hide in our bonus room watching movies.

Greeting Cards: Halloween

 
I hope you had a fun Halloween. 
Carving pumpkins. Eating candy. Dressing up. 
It is the perfect kids holiday. 
I can't wait until our little one is here and we get better at joining in on the festivities.

*This is the tenth in my series of twelve "I Love You More" cards   
that I have designed and will be posting throughout the year.
 
© Cheree Moore

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Overwhelmed


When I get stressed or overwhelmed I get cranky. It's how I function. I think it has something to do with not feeling in control of my life. It's why I rarely cry. I feel out of control if I cry, so mostly I don't do it. I also try not to allow myself to get to a point of being stressed or overwhelmed – a big reason why I exercise {and have continued to do so throughout this pregnancy}.

Saturday I had a moment of cranky, out of control, overwhelmed crying. It started building on Friday. I got to hang out with my sister and we went and got pedicures – something that should have been totally relaxing and fun. And it was. Except for the fact that it wasn't what I expected – the place we went didn't have us soak our feet or massage our feet/legs for very long. I hate that something as silly as my expectations not being met can start me in a tail spin.

That afternoon, following my OB appointment, Daniel and I went to Starbucks. My order was messed up and it made me cranky {they forgot to add vanilla to my vanilla latte and when I went back to complain, I ended up with sugar-free vanilla}. Totally stupid, I know. But I wasn't in control and my hormones must have been in overdrive to make me upset.

Saturday we worked on putting together our baby swag. We are actually fairly prepared at this point, but for some reason I just started feeling really overwhelmed. I think it is freaking me out that I don't have any control over when Jack is going to make his appearance {and I have no intention of inducing if we can avoid it}. So after lunch I had a moment or two of crying and telling Daniel how overwhelmed I have been feeling. 

As a guy he just wants to fix it {which he can't}. But at least after almost 9 years of marriage he knows when to just listen and let me vent. We spent some time just hanging out in the hammock and I felt much better. 

I'm going to chalk this experience up to hormones and be thankful that these moments have been almost non existent for me. I think we would both be going a bit crazy if I had been super hormonal for the entirety of the last 9 months!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

52 Books: Book 45


Earlier this week I wrapped up The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. The writing style of this book reminded me of the movie Valentine's Day. Each chapter follows various characters who work for an Italian newspaper. Each character's story is short and somewhat incomplete. Some of the characters show up in each other's plots, but mostly the stories are about the individuals who make up the paper. 

I am not a fan of this style of writing. It comes across as choppy and incomplete. I felt like I never really got to know any of the characters. At the very end, condensed into one short chapter, we learn what happens to each character. For me, it just wasn't enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

37Weeks.5Days.


Thanks to my friend, Braxton Hicks, today has been a pretty uncomfortable day. It seems to be more pronounced when I sit down, so maybe I need to be up walking more.

 Hiking at Cloudland Canyon

Speaking of walking, Saturday we went on a 5-mile hike. My mom wanted to know if I was worried that hiking might send me into labor. At this point I am not too worried {it wasn't a hard hike} and since I am full term I don't have a fear of delivering early – besides the fact that my house is a wreck.

I have been giving myself twice-a-day Heparin shots for a week now. Surprisingly the shots don't hurt at all {much less painful than the once-a-day Lovenox that I am used to}. However, after administering these shots my skin tends to itch and the bruises hurt more. So in that sense, I will be glad to go back to Lovenox {plus having to fill my own syringes is a pain, as is making sure I remember to do the morning shot}.

Strangest symptom this past week has been a mild swelling in my hands late at night. They often feel inflamed and keep me from getting a good night's sleep. My OB suggested sleeping with a wrist brace. This has helped somewhat.

I wish that due dates were actual deadlines. I am a bad procrastinator and find that I need a hard deadline to accomplish anything. I have a long list of nursery-related projects that I have been working on, but I think I would be more motivated to finish them if I knew that little guy was arriving for certain on a specific day

 Chicken Tamale Casserole – recipe from The Culinary Couple

A few weeks ago my sister asked me what my cooking plans were for after Jack gets here. I probably gave her a blank stare – this is one of the many things I have not thought about. In our house I either try new, complicated recipes, we eat frozen pizza or we eat out. My sister gently informed me that the complicated recipes will probably need to be put on the back burner. Hmmm. I have read lots about preparing meals ahead of time to freeze. And I am trying. Really I am. It is just hard to shift gears. So far I have made extra chili and an extra Chicken Tamale Casserole. I know I need to do better, I just can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that things are going to be different.

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday 

Shirt from Target.
Old Jeans from Banana Republic.
Chacos from REI.


Shirt from Motherhood.
Vest from Kohl's.
Compression Capris from Dick's.
Boots and wool socks from REI.

Monday, October 24, 2011

52 Books: Book 44


Back in March I started reading What to Expect When You're Expecting by


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cloudland Canyon: West Rim Trail Revisited


About this time last year Daniel and I went out to Cloudland Canyon for a day hike. Unfortunately we were short on time and were only able to hike 2.5 miles. Today we had a bit more time and were able to complete the entire West Rim Trail – approximately 5 miles.


It was the perfect day for a hike – 60ºF and sunny. The trees are just starting to change color. This hike will offer some spectacular views in a couple of weeks when the colors really start to peak.


The first 3+ miles were along the rim with awesome views. The end of the hike was in the woods. Hiking in the woods has its own charm, providing lots of time to think. 


Being 37 weeks pregnant I am a bit slow, but we managed to complete the hike {with stops for photo ops} in about 2 hours. We can't wait to be able to take our little boy hiking with us. Even better is the fact that Daniel can carry him instead of me lugging him around in my belly.


bittersweet.

Yesterday around lunch time, I received a text message that I had been waiting for. One of my closest friends from high school had finally had her baby {she was four days overdue}. I was in Baby's R Us and very ecstatic to learn the news. I can't wait to go meet her baby boy in person.

The rest of the day Daniel and I went about running errands in Chattanooga and then hanging out at home.

After a long afternoon nap, I checked into Facebook and learned that a friend from college was facing the passing of her own baby boy. Five month old Ian has been at Vanderbilt fighting for his life since his birth. Sadly, Ian went to be with the angels last night. The finality of the news is heartbreaking.

I have no words. 

I pray that God will give comfort and strength to Ashley and Bob and their families during this incredibly difficult time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

52 Books: Book 43


For the last several years I have been reading the blog Mabel's House by Elizabeth Owen. It is witty and funny and very real to life. Better yet, I know Liz and her husband, Matt, personally from college and somehow that makes her stories even better.

Her posts about dissatisfaction with life and the need to grow up resonated with me. As did her thoughts on not being ready to become a mom {which she finally plunged into last year after almost a decade of marriage}. I relate all too well.

When I found out she was writing a book, I jumped on board and pre-ordered my copy as soon as I could. A few weeks ago that book arrived on my door step and I couldn't wait to dive in. As usual, Liz's style of writing did not disappoint.

My (not so) Storybook Life is broken into 14 chapters that take us into the world of marital bliss {that prove to not always be so blissful, as is often the case}. The book also shares Liz's personal journey of the loss of a friend to cancer. While Liz could have chosen to run away from her problems or write her story in a cynical way, she chooses instead to be grateful for all of the moments that make up her life, even when things don't turn out the way she thinks they should.

One unexpected twist in this book is Liz's introduction to each chapter. She takes literary characters that we grew up with and weaves modern-day scenarios of what those characters would be up to in their ever after {the parts that don't always go so happily}. If you are a lover of literature and are curious about what Anne and Gilbert; Scarlett and Rhett; Marianne and Colonel Brandon or the March Sisters are up, you cannot miss out on this book. Just be prepared to both laugh and to cry.

Excerpts from the book: 
It's often said that people resemble their pets, or vice versa. If I were a vain woman I would deny this fact to the death since Mabel desperately needs a diet for her rotund backside and a daily regime of anti-anxiety medication. But denying our similarities would do no good in light of the fact that she and I are doggy-human soul mates.

As long as I didn't pray about the big things, I avoided being disappointed in God... When you kneel before God and pray, you admit your helplessness. You admit that there's nothing you can do about a situation. And in praying, you admit that God is really up there. You concede He's really listening. And that, my friends, is no small revelation.

I relayed my frustration to my mother.
"Do you know what I did yesterday? I'll tell you. I worked eight hours, got stuck behind a wreck on the river bridges, got home an hour and a half later, threw sticks with Mabel and got a splinter, changed the sheets on the bed because they feel gritty, ate a bowl of cereal, balanced the checkbook, cried, weighed myself, cried again, and finally passed out on the couch. Of course my toilets are dirty! Of course we eat takeout! Of course my baseboards are dusty! How can I possibly be expected to do all this?"
Mother watched me placidly, paintbrush in hand. Slowly she began to shake her head. "Who cares? I raised my daughters to be creative and happy, not disinfecting, baseboard washing experts..."

"I had so much time before, so many possibilities stretching endlessly ahead of me. But it's not endless. This all has an expiration date."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

36Weeks.5Days.


It is hard to believe that we are almost full term! At last week's OB appointment I had an ultrasound to check the size of our little guy. According to the tech he was 6lb 3oz on Friday. However I am not holding my breath on that estimate – my sister says these measurements are routinely a pound off and can be off by up to 2 pounds.

We have been busy working on our nursery and we finally have our furniture mostly assembled and in place. This coming weekend we will work on getting art on the walls. I have also been busy making things like a baby blanket and skirt for the crib and curtains for the windows – this is probably as close as I will get to nesting and really the only reason I am doing it is because I couldn't find anything in the stores that I really loved.

I have officially swapped over from daily Lovenox shots to twice daily Heparin shots. When I picked up my Heparin prescription yesterday the pharmacy gave me vials containing Heparin but no syringes. Not exactly sure how they thought I was going to take the Heparin... Daniel said I should have asked them if I was supposed to drink it. I am not too keen about the extra shots but I will survive. After Jack comes I get to go back to Lovenox for 6 weeks.

I have been a bit swollen the last couple of days. I will be glad when I no longer have to contend with that symptom. Working out and drinking plenty of water have been my best way to combat this. Thank goodness I can still practice yoga and kickboxing. Though I am starting to get questioned by everyone whenever I walk into a class at the gym.

We went to a child birth class on Saturday. It was an 8-hour crash course on what to expect during labor and delivery. All of our classmates were basically silent throughout the class. Neither Daniel nor I want to be that annoying person that won't stop asking questions, but these other people didn't say a word. We, on the other hand, had plenty of questions. Some of which I made a mental note to ask my OB at my next appointment. How can these other first-time parents not have a single question about having a baby?!?!

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday
Maternity Shirt from Motherhood.

Jacket from Target
Jeans from Kohl's {thank goodness for relaxed fit, low-ride jeans}.
Lands End Shoes from Sears.





Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nursery: Crib and Blanket


A few months ago I had my heart set on a crib from IKEA and then IKEA pulled all of its cribs out of US stores due to recent laws that had passed concerning drop sides on cribs. I was disappointed, but held out hope that IKEA would modify the designs and bring their cribs back to the US.

Luckily that is exactly what happened and we were able to get a crib we loved without spending an arm and a leg.

Daniel and I decided on the white SUNDVIK crib {above}. Once we had it home we hacked it to make it fit in with our nursery look. We painted the end gray to match the dresser and then I stenciled bicycles on it.

I created the stencil from a piece of fabric I scanned into my computer. I love technology!

The Michael Miller Bicycle Haze fabric has been the basis for the theme in this room. I purchased the fabric off the internet and had every intention of buying a custom blanket from an Etsy shop owner. Unfortunately the Etsy owner decided to pull out of working with me and I decided I would take a stab at making my own blanket.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Before and After


We have finally made some headway on our nursery and while it is by no means finished, I thought I would go ahead and share a glimpse of one of our recent projects.


When Daniel and I were first married, we both had old dressers that came with us from our days of being single. These two dressers have been relegated to our guest rooms as they function well and we have been too cheap to replace them. Daniel's dresser is a remnant of the 80s. It has wood veneer and brass pulls. I have never been fond of this dresser. 


In my mind I have always wanted to paint it. I even tried to convince Daniel of painting the wood several years ago, but for some reason he put me off {I was under the impression that it was a relic from his boyhood that he didn't want to change... which turned out not to be the case}. 


Once we started the nursery decorating, I was able to finally persuade him that painting was the way to go. The argument that painting was much cheaper than buying a new piece of furniture was all I needed to persuade my frugal husband.


Playing off the theme I had established {in this post}, we decided to paint the dresser white with gray panels and add new hardware. I will also be adding a stencil to the gray panels. Once we were finished, Daniel wanted to know why we hadn't painted the dresser before. I guess I should have tried harder to persuade him in the past!


More pictures of the nursery to come once we get artwork hung and things where we want them. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

35Weeks.5Days.


How is it possible that we are almost 36 weeks? Eek! Lots to do and the sooner the better.

Last week I strained a muscle in the top of my abdomen. It hurt like crazy. For three days, every time little one kicked it made me want to cry. It also made me incredibly sensitive to others getting too close to me. I was actually in a Chick-fil-a last Friday during a busy lunch hour and I had the thought that if a stranger tried to touch my belly I might punch them. Thankfully that didn't happen. If I hadn't been in so much pain I probably would not have cared, but hurting for 3 days makes you think that you would totally punch a stranger.

All of our nursery furniture is purchased. We still need to assemble most of it, but at least we have it. Our rocker recliner probably won't be here until after baby arrives, but that is OK.

Recently I was telling Daniel that even though this pregnancy has been pretty easy on me, I will never be one of those people who LOVES being pregnant. Can you imagine being like the Duggars and being pregnant for like 20 years of your adult life? That is just nuts to me.

Right after this conversation, Daniel and I went into JoAnn's to scope out some fabric. The sales girl engaged me in a conversation about being pregnant. She asked if I was more sick during the third trimester than the first – I told her that I actually haven't been sick at all. Then she asked me about stretch marks – and I had to tell her that I don't have any. And then she told me how horrible her sickness and stretch marks were. But finished up by telling me how much she LOVED being pregnant. I just don't get it...

I have been a bit surprised by how little people talk to me about being pregnant. I was prepared for strangers to talk to me and give me advice and want to touch me and THANKFULLY I really haven't experienced that. Even at the grocery store – I can go to the same checker week after week and they never say a word about being pregnant. Maybe it is a small town thing?

Monday night we went to a child safety class. Pretending to diaper and feed and swaddle a doll was not really our cup of tea. Though we do need more practice with the swaddling. Then again, my mom told me that they didn't even teach her to swaddle when I was a baby...

Tomorrow I go for my 36 week check up. They are going to do an ultrasound since I was measuring big at my last appointment. They will also check to see if I have dilated at all – yikes! Not sure if I am ready for that yet. Saturday we are taking a birthing class – then we should be totally prepared for this, right? Hah.

I am still feeling great. Still doing yoga and kickboxing. Still no major aches or pains {other than those 3 days last week}. Still able to sleep through the night most of the time. Anything that requires bending over is definitely harder with each passing day. Overall I am feeling very blessed but also nervous that this has all been too easy and at some point things are going to get hard.

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday
Maternity Shirt from Motherhood.

Jeans from Banana Republic {yay for relaxed fit, low-ride jeans from my pre-pregnancy days}.
Chacos from REI.

Monday, October 10, 2011

52 Books: Book 42


I did it! It took me almost four months but I finally finished reading the classic novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This may be a record for the length of time it took me to complete a book {not a record I am exactly proud of though}.

I don't even know what to say about this book. The beginning was interesting. Starting with the famous line, "Call me Ishmael," it tells a first hand account of how Ishmael ends up on the ship, the Pequod, sailing with Captain Ahab. But about a quarter of the way in, the book gets really heavy on details. Everything you could possibly want to know about whales and then some. 

Melville goes on to write very graphic descriptions of how they hunted the great whales and then gutted them. It was almost too much. 

Mostly I felt like I was trying to read the book of Leviticus {if Leviticus was 500+ pages long}... the details go on and on and and on and on. The end of the book transitioned to reading more like a play. Overall it never really engaged me like the book Ahab's Wife that I read earlier this year {hence the four months of reading} .

My husband asked if I was glad I finished it. I told him that it was kind of like running a half marathon – it was not that enjoyable but since I chose to read it I am glad that I finished in a "I'm not a quitter" sense.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Nursery Progress

We had an exhausting, but productive day in Atlanta yesterday. Before we headed to Georgia we really debated whether to take Sophie with us. The upside is that she isn't stuck in a house alone all day long – for possibly 12 hours {eek}. The downside is that she is stuck in a car all day – but she is with us and we take breaks and let her roam around when we can. Plus the outside temperature was perfect. In the end, we took her with us.

This was a good thing since we were gone for close to 12 hours {we try not to leave her alone for more than 8 hours at a time, with a max of 10}.

Anyway, we left Hollywood and made a few stops in Chattanooga first – errands that really needed to be taken care of. When we finally arrived in Atlanta, our first stop was the La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery in Kennesaw. 

We had already been to the Chattanooga AND Huntsville stores and gotten the whole spiel from the salespeople. We were hoping to avoid the sales pitch again, but those guys are good at making you listen to them. The positive was that we knew exactly what we wanted to look and our sales guy, Ed, was actually really helpful. If they had had our rocker in stock in the color we wanted we would have bought it from them in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the fabric we want {graphite} is a special order. 

After much debate we decided to order from Chattanooga to save us some drive time. Thankfully we know what we are getting. Unfortunately it won't be here for 6-8 weeks, so Jack should be here before our La-Z-Boy is. Such is life in the world of habitual procrastinators.


After La-Z-Boy, we made our way to the Target at Midtown to pick up a Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper. We have been looking for this item for a while. Unfortunately Amazon sells it for double the price of Target, but none of the Targets that are close to us had any in stock. Thank goodness for living close to a variety of major cities.

Post Target we hit up IKEA. Our IKEA plan is always to know what we are there for BEFORE we arrive. We were on a mission and were able to get in and out in about an hour and a half. 

There were two dressers that I was interested in – one for an upstairs changing table and one to be used in our foyer area {that could also double as a downstairs changing area if needed}.
 
We may eventually paint it another color to match our downstairs furniture better.

We also found a chair we both liked for our bedroom. This is our solution for the first few weeks when Jack sleeps in our room. It will also come in handy until our La-Z-Boy arrives.
We chose a black frame with the Dala Natural cushion.
 
And finally the crib for the nursery. The plan is to paint the end panels a dark gray – pictures to come. You can see what we have in mind from my nursery mood board.


I would call our shopping day long but very productive. We were home by 10PM and very tired. Today we are painting an old dresser and the crib. We hope to have most of our pieces assembled by the end of the weekend. That pretty much covers the big items. As soon as we have it all pulled together I will post pictures of the nursery. 

We still have plenty of little things to pick up, but we are all about a minimalistic approach to having a newborn... Jack isn't going to need a whole lot right away and we have the important items covered. We will get the rest as we go. No need to rush out and buy a bunch of products we aren't even sure that we want.

As for Sophie... we managed to fit everything INSIDE the Subaru. This left a small area for her to ride home in. But she was a trooper. I think she would rather be driving around with us {even surrounded by boxes of furniture} than to be left at home alone... That's what we tell ourselves anyway!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Mood Board for Our Nursery

 
Sad to say that I am about 5 weeks from my due date and almost zero progress has been made on our nursery. We are planning on remedying that this weekend with a trip to Atlanta.

Above is a mood board I have created of some of the pieces we are considering for the nursery – mind you that seeing this stuff in person will determine whether or not we get it.

The artwork {seen here – we used it as decorations at out baby shower} is completed and framed, waiting to be hung {which requires furniture for placement}. 

We also have an old chest of drawers that we are painting white – possibly with gray panels and bicycles stenciled on to match the crib.

The crib we are considering is the SUNDVIK from Ikea. I plan on painting the outside panel and stencilling bicycles to match the Bicycle Haze fabric by Michael Miller.

The rocker recliner is the gray Cole Reclina-Rocker® Recliner by La-Z-Boy.

The blanket was found on Etsy with the Bicycle Haze fabric.

And the locker chest is from Ikea – I am thinking it would make a good window seat.

We will get it finished, we are just hoping that it will happen before baby boy arrives.
 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

34Weeks.5Days.


Over the last week I have been feeling really huge. It probably didn't help that at my 34 week appointment {last Friday} my OB said I was measuring large and she wants me to have an ultrasound at 36 weeks to see why baby boy {and I} are measuring so big. Even though my abdomen is large my weight gain has been holding steady at 20 pounds.

Last night we had friends over for dinner. I really enjoyed having a social night but after dessert, while we sat around talking, I started experiencing some pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions. It is hard to carry on a conversation like everything is normal when you are so uncomfortable.

I am still participating in yoga and cardio kickboxing, though any exercise that involves folding my body in half is proving harder and harder.

My strangest symptom by far is that my feet are constantly sweating. At least my entire body isn't suffering from this one. I have a feeling that I will be wearing my chaco sandals until our little guy's arrival as socks make the sweating worse.

This weekend we are planning a trip to Atlanta to pick up some furniture from IKEA for the nursery. Hopefully that will make us feel more prepared for the coming arrival of Jack.

As long as all goes well, we are hoping to have a natural childbirth.

pleated poppy

What I Wore Wednesday
Cardigan and striped top from Target.
Maternity Jeans from Target {though I have to wear Daniel's belt to keep them up}.
Chacos from REI.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Do You Pinterest?

Pinterest. An addicting world of collective inspiration. I save all the inspiring things I come across on the blogs I read and I get to be inspired by what my friends find inspiring.

The only problem is I have yet to really put any of this inspiration to use.

While I adore the site and enjoy seeing my friends pins, I am feeling the urge to do something besides just troll the internet. With this in mind, I have decided to set a monthly goal of putting this inspiration to use. At least once a month I want to be creating something based on one of these images that I find so inspiring.

Maybe I try a new recipe...


Maybe I make something for our nursery...


Maybe I make something for myself...


The point is I am going to try to do more than just be inspired.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Life in the Slow Lane

People in the south take things a little slower. Especially if you happen to live in a small town. Sometimes this can be a source of frustration. Other times it can truly be a blessing.

 {image via} 

Friday night, Daniel's dad came for a quick overnight visit. He wanted to go eat at The Docks. I have mixed feelings about The Docks. The atmosphere is amazing – you can sit on a deck overlooking the lake at sunset. But the service is incredibly slow. If you eat here, you need to plan on staying for at least an hour, probably 1.5 hours. The food is good, but a little pricey for a small town, after all you are paying for the lake experience. Last night was a great time to go. We arrived just before sunset and the temperature was perfect. It did get a little cool as we sat there {thankfully I had grabbed a sweater}. As usual it was a drawn-out meal, but we enjoyed our visit with Wesley.

Daniel had the Sea Bass with Rice and Asparagus, I had the Petite Sirloin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Veggies and Wesley had the Fettuccine Alfredo. We all had a starter of soup and bread.

The Docks on Urbanspoon

Today we took Wesley on a mini tour of the Hollywood/Scottsboro area. Showing him the sites... like downtown Hollywood {hah}. Then on to Scottsboro to see Unclaimed Baggage. I didn't find any books today, but Daniel and I did find a used BabyBjorn for $8 and plan to go back to get it later.


After driving around the court square we decided to have lunch at Geno's Pizza. This is one of a handful of places that Daniel and I frequent. The pizza is decent, but again you pretty much better be prepared to wait. We were one of two tables in the ENTIRE restaurant and it took over 10 minutes to place our order. Like I said, things are slower in these parts. Our pizza was good – typical pizza sports bar fare. And we waited for our check while watching the Arkansas/Texas A&M game.

We split a large Meaty pizza.

Geno's Pizza & Grill on Urbanspoon

Grayson Highlands, 2017

I'm so thankful we were able to spend last weekend as a family, tucked away in the Virginia mountains, just the four of us. It was a ...